Football Update: Michael Bishop

Living in the Midwest and having attended the University of Kansas, I had the chance to see former Kansas State University Quarterback Michael Bishop in person. Why am I interested in writing an updated football history of Michael Bishop? Every year I take my father who is an Alumni of Kansas State University to see a college football game mostly games like the Big Twelve Championship or Black Coaches’ Association Kickoff Classic, both games held at Arrowhead Stadium, in Kansas City. The story of Michael Bishop’s football career is worth telling, because it defines the inside struggles of playing professional football. This update is just an introductory outline of the Michael Bishop story; I intend to write a full Michael Bishop biography at some point.

Michael Bishop a Galveston, Texas native stayed in Texas after High School for the 1995 football season. At Blinn Junior College located in the state of Texas, Michael Bishop was a student athlete who would lead the school to an undefeated record of 24-0 during the 1995-1996 football seasons. Bishop won two National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national titles for Blinn Junior College. Blinn Junior College has not won a NJCAA championship since Michael Bishop left.

College football coaches all over the nation showed interest in recruiting undefeated two-time NJCAA national champion Michael Bishop. When the dust settled, Michael Bishop decided to attend Kansas State University, located in Manhattan Kansas. Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder started Michael Bishop in all 25 games the University played in 1997 and 1998. Michael Bishop had been undefeated at Blinn Junior College and would lead Kansas State to 22 wins. With a winning record of 22-3 (.880) at Kansas State and 24-0 (1.00) at Blinn Junior College Michael Bishop left college football with a record of 46-3 (.938).

At the end of the 1998 season Michael Bishop finished second in Heisman Trophy voting to all time NCAA rushing record holder Ricky Williams, of the University of Texas. Michael Bishop received 41 first place votes, 250 second place votes, and 169 third place votes for a total of 792 points. Drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round, Bishop was the tenth Quarterback taken in the draft. Overall, the Kansas State University standout was draft selection number 227, one of 253 total players selected to play in the National Football League, including twelve quarterbacks.

The New England Patriots ended up listing Michael Bishop on the inactive players list for 15 out of 16 games. During the preseason, Bishop completed 17 of 34 passes for 299 yards and scored three touchdowns. Bishop was able to come off the bench and finish 9 of 17 for 148 yards during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins, Drew Bledsoe commented on the game by saying, “The guy is competitive, look at his record in college. He won a lot of games, and you can see why.” During the 1999 season, Drew Bledsoe was the starting Quarterback for the New England Patriots. Before a game against the Cleveland Brows Pete Carroll said, “I understand why people ask the questions about him. I saw the same things they saw. I loved the way he played in the preseason. Drew is doing pretty good though. So it’s hard to want to take him out for any reason at all. I would love to see Michael play in some games. When the opportunity presents itself, we’ll hopefully get him in there. His development needs to continue. A backup quarterback can get pretty stagnant.” Pete Carroll did not really want to see Michael Bishop in game, which is obvious since the only official playing time was with the Boys and Girls Club of Cape Cod who was more than willing to let Bishop meet with kids in a school football program. Pete Carroll said, “This kid has been a warrior football player. He has been the key focal point in every game he’s ever been involved in. It’s hard for him, and I can totally relate to him. He’s got to figure out a whole new mindset. It’s natural. He should be frustrated. He wants to play.”

In February 2000, the New England Patriots hired a new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. When the Head Coach of the New England Patriots Pete Carroll described how Michael Bishop fit into the Patriots offense he said, “This kid has been a warrior football player. He has been the key focal point in every game he’s ever been involved in. It’s hard for him, and I can totally relate to him. He’s got to figure out a whole new mindset. It’s natural. He should be frustrated. He wants to play.” Pete Carroll’s comments conflicted with how Charlie Weis intended to use Michael Bishop in the offense, “If you have a guy that can help you win games, however that is, then you try to find a way to do it. If it means coming in on third-and-one and having everyone think you’re going to run the ball, and then you run the option because he’s in there and you throw a touchdown, you put him in and go ahead and use his skills. There are ways of utilizing someone’s skills other than letting him sit on the bench and wallow.” Obviously, Pete Carroll was aware that that Michael Bishop had a college football record of 46-3 (.938) and would have fought to win in the National Football League. When Charlie Weis first became the offensive coordinator he wanted to utilize Michael Bishop’s skills, but that did not guarantee playing time or take Bishop off the inactive players list. At the end of the National Football League season, of the 8-8 New England Patriots fired Head Coach Pete Carroll.

The inactive players list did not give Michael Bishop a fair shot at playing football in the National Football League, the New England Patriots only allowed Bishop to stand next to the field in uniform during a game against the Miami Dolphins. Everything changed when the New England Patriots hired Bill Belichick to replace former Head Coach Pete Carroll. In February, Michael Bishop was almost sent to the National Football League Europe, but Bill Belichick believed, “Michael Bishop was in one system in college, then he learned another system here last year. If we were to send him to Europe, he’d be in another system. Then he’d have to come back prior to training camp and re-learn another system. That would be four systems in less than two calendar years.” Michael Bishop had the chance to play in eight games with the New England Patriots during the 2000-2001 National

Football League season.

During an August Press Conference at Foxboro Stadium, in Massachusetts Michael Bishop talked about how Bill Belichick was integrating him into the offence, “Bill came in and told me that I have a lot of talent and he would try to get me involved in game situations. Things have been going positively so hopefully we’ll go that route. I think I’ll be happy and my teammates will be happy that I got in and did something positive.” After four games, the New England Patriots were still looking for a victory, when Drew Bledsoe injured his throwing hand against the Miami Dolphins. Bill Belichick had to answer questions about if Michael Bishop the third string Quarterback would receive extended playing time, Belichick responded, “I don’t see that happening.”

Over a year after the 1999 draft, the New England Patriots allowed Michael Bishop on the field during a game against the Indianapolis Colts. Bishop finally completed a pass as a professional football player. On the last play of the first half, Tony Simmons caught a 44-yard Michael Bishop pass for a touchdown. The successful ‘Hail Mary’ play made Michael Bishop the first National Football League Quarterback since Pat Haden to start a professional career with a pass of more than 40 yards. After the week six game, the National Football League announced that Michael Bishop’s pass to Tony Simmons won the DirecTV NFL Play of the Week Award. Bill Belichick thought the play showed, “He [Bishop] has a real strong arm, and the receivers were going to have to get a little further down the field. He could buy time for the receivers because he also has a bit of mobility.” DirecTV donated $10,000 to the United Way in the name of Michael Bishop and Tony Simmons.

At the end of the 2000 season, Michael Bishop was looking for direction. Bishop attended the 2001 training camps of both the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. Bill Belichick wanted an accurate pocket passer and never really appreciated the amazing arm strength and elusive scrambling abilities of Michael Bishop. The New England Patriots lacked the ability or vision to develop plays that could use the strength of a mobile Quarterback as a tactical advantage. Michael Bishop is a talented football player that could play multiple positions on any football team in the National Football League. During the summer of 2000, Bill Belichick talked about why the New England Patriots had not tried to teach Michael Bishop another position, “I hadn’t planned on it right now. Everybody pretty much as their hands full learning the positions they’re in.”

Michael Bishop’s agent Michael Lartigue had extensive discussions with the New England Patriots organization about playing in Europe concluding, “The decision is in Mike’s hands, and it has to be the right situation. Our feeling is that Michael is not in the Patriots long-term plans. In that regard, it would make sense.” By this time Bill Belichick had changed his mind about Michael Bishop going to Europe and was working with Dick Rehbein the quarterbacks coach to encourage the Europe option. Lartigue, “Mike’s feeling is that he would like to go over seas. People have not yet seen what he can do in the course of a whole game” Michael wants to be able to run an offense. It also will increase his [trade] value if he goes overseas and plays. From the Patriots perspective that would make sense.” The New England Patriots announced on February 12, 2001, that they were sending 10 players to the Europe. The European season starts April 21, 2001 and concludes with the World Bowl on June 30, 2001 in Amsterdam.

After sending Michael Bishop to Europe, the New England Patriots signed another backup Quarterback Damon Huard calling into question when Bill Belichick would start cutting Quarterbacks. Drew Bledsoe had a 10-year contract and the emergence of Tom Brady was on the horizon. Describing the situation Michael Bishop said, “They can bring in five more quarterbacks, but I can’t control that. I know what I can do and the coaching staff knows what I can do. Maybe they brought in Damon Huard and they are going to release a quarterback. Maybe they are going to trade a quarterback, I don’t know. The only thing I am concerned about right now is going over and being the quarterback of the Frankfurt Galaxy. There are a lot of players depending on me here. I have to take care of my job with the Frankfurt Galaxy. God has a plan, whether or not that is with New England or with another team, I’m just waiting for my plan to come to me.” Bill Belichick is no stranger to the harsh realities of coaching a professional football team, but it is easy to allow winning to gloss over the failures of a coach.

Michael Bishop did not squander the opportunity to be a starting Quarterback for the Frankfurt Galaxy, after the first two games the fans voted Bishop the most likely Quarterback to have an influence on the league. During the first two weeks, Bishop had a Quarterback rating of 107.5, competed 22 of 40 passes for 332 yards, and 3 touchdowns, while rushing for 94 yards and a touchdown. Michael Bishop was putting up good numbers but the Frankfurt Galaxy had not won a game. When Bishop answered questions about the New England Patriots Quarterback situation he said, “I haven’t talked to anybody in New England. I don’t know what’s going on in their minds. I haven’t talked to anybody since I left New England for the off season.” At the end of the third game Bishop had completed 37 of 73 passes for 557 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception, but the Frankfurt Galaxy still needed a win.

The situation compelled Michael Bishop to say, “They knew I was going to go over, make plays and put points on the board. They’re not getting anything they didn’t expect. It’s up to them whether or not they make a decision to keep me, release me, trade me or whatever. I’m going to live with that decision and make the best of that decision, whether or not that is in New England or with another organization.” During the next few games, Michael Bishop tried to fight through injuries. The hamstring injury got the best of Michael Bishop in week five against Berlin after completing 19 of 26 passes for 233 yards, one touchdown, and one interception Bishop had to leave the game. Considering the injuries, Bishop put up decent number in the six starts for the Frankfurt Galaxy completing 76 of 153 passes for 1,090 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.

On August 17, 2001, Bill Belichick directed the New England Patriots organization to release Michael Bishop. The Green Bay Packers decided to pick up Michael Bishop’s contract. Five days later on August 25, 2001, the Green Bay Packers organization announced the release of Michael Bishop’s contract. Clearly 2001, was an incredibly busy year for Michael Bishop who ended up leaving the continent and traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to start six games for the Frankfurt Galaxy of the National Football League Europe.

After playing in both the National Football League and the National Football League Europe, Michael Bishop was ready to begin the 2002 season by traveling back across the Atlantic Ocean to North America. Michael Bishop was literally traveling North of America to join the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. On March 26, 2002, the Argonauts acquired the rights to Michael Bishop from the Calgary Stampeders. The trade resulted in the Argonauts getting Michael Bishop and two late round draft choices, which the Argonauts used to draft Chuck Walsh and Darryl Ray. The Argonauts gave the Calgary Stampeders the rights to Michel Dupuis’s contract, a 2003 first-round draft choice, and a conditional 2002 draft pick.

Michael Bishop was able to start five games for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League during 2002. Bishop was the backup Quarterback for veteran Stanley Jackson until July 9, 2002, when Bishop was the starting Quarterback in a 30-22 win over British Columbia. Unfortunately, the next week against Edmonton Bishop had another hamstring injury.

During the 2003 season Michael Bishop, was able to get on the field during both of the Toronto Argonauts pre-season wins. Bishop was the third quarterback on the depth chart for the Toronto Argonauts East Division Semi-Final game against British Columbia. Starting Quarterback Allen had to leave the game in the East Division Championship allowing Michael Bishop to come in for the final play, which happened to result in an incomplete pass.

On February 16, 2004, the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League granted Michael Bishop free agency to sign a contract with the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League. Bishop played in five games completing 33 of 64 passes, and 9 touchdowns, while carrying the ball 8 times for 51 yards and a touchdown. Michael Bishop returned to the Toronto Argonauts in time for the 2004 training camp. Michael Bishop was the Canadian Football League Week 10 Offensive Player of the Week.

The 2004 season was a success for the Toronto Argonauts who played in the championship game of the Canadian Football League against British Columbia for the Grey Cup. At the end of the third quarter with a 24-13, lead Toronto Argonauts Quarterback Allen left the game, bringing Michael Bishop who was able to control the offense and lead the team to a victory. The Toronto Argonauts won the game 27-19 winning the Canadian Football League championship and a 15th Grey Cup for the organization.

Football Statistics for Michael Bishop by Year
Date Team W O D Att Com Pct Yards Td Int Att Yards Td Avg PR
1997 KSU (NCAA) 10 383 159 185 80 44.14 1547 9 8 12 266 9 3.869 72.944
1998 KSU (NCAA) 11 576 160 295 164 55.59 2844 23 4 177 748 14 4.2 88.78
1999 Patriots (NFL) 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
2000 Patriots (NFL) 2 148 162 9 3 33.30 80 1 1 7 1 0 0.1 66.81
2001 Frankfurt (NFLE) 153 76 49.70 1,090 11 7 33 244 1 7 73.21
2002 Toronto (CFL) 2 162 310 148 63 42.60 1,053 7 10 45 225 2 5 67.08
2003 Toronto (CFL) 3 150 63 20 8 40.00 215 1 2 3 33 0 11 79.96
2004 Grand Rapids (AFL) 64 33 51.60 425 9 2 8 51 1 6.4 73.06
2004 Toronto (CFL) 7 350 333 217 104 47.90 1508 15 6 60 408 5 3.8 71.09
Career Average 121 59 40.54 973.6 8 4 38 219.3 3.6 4.57 65.88
Complete Statistics for Michael Bishop Kansas State 1997 (NCAA)
Team Date Opponent W O D Att Com Pct Yards Td Int Att Yards Td Avg PR
KSU 09/06/97
Northern Illinois

1

47
7
13

8

61.54

172

1

0

8

98

1

12.30
105.71
KSU 09/13/97 Ohio 1 23 20 14 3 21.43 93 0 0 12 18 0 1.50 54.76
KSU 09/27/97 Bowling Green 1 58 0 12 8 66.67 142 1 0 10 37 1 3.70 107.22
KSU 10/04/97 Nebraska 0 26 56 24 8 33.33 162 1 2 17 14 1 0.80 57.78
KSU 10/11/97 Missouri 1 41 11 9 3 33.33 82 2 0 14 196 2 14.00 68.56
KSU 10/18/97 Texas A&M 1 36 17 21 10 47.62 173 1 1 14 53 1 0.38 76.05
KSU 10/25/97 Oklahoma 1 26 7 16 8 50.00 158 1 0 11 2 1 0.02 85.10
KSU 11/01/97 Texas Tech 1 13 2 21 6 28.57 69 0 3 18 13 0 0.70 40.18
KSU 11/08/97 Kansas 1 48 16 17 9 52.94 218 0 1 10 33 0 3.30 98.04
KSU 11/15/97 Colorado 1 37 20 15 7 46.67 156 0 0 18 44 0 2.40 84.31
KSU 11/22/97 Iowa St. 1 28 3 23 10 43.48 122 2 1 15 98 2 6.50 60.53
1997 Totals 10 383 159 185 80 44.14 1547 9 8 12 566 9 3.87 72.94
Complete Statistics for Michael Bishop Kansas State 1998 (NCAA)
Team Date Opponent W O D Att Com Pct Yards Td Int Att Yards Td Avg PR
KSU
09/05/98

Indiana St.

1

66
0
11

6

54.55

149

1

0

6

25

2

4.20
99.92
KSU 09/12/98 Northern Illinois 1 73 7 13 6 46.15 130 2 0 9 46 2 5.10 82.72
KSU 09/19/98 Texas 1 48 7 20 14 70.00 182 2 0 17 41 1 2.40 98.67
KSU 09/26/98 NE Louisiana 1 62 7 40 23 57.50 441 4 0 12 34 0 2.80 96.27
KSU 10/10/98 Colorado 1 16 9 25 9 36.00 148 0 1 13 19 0 1.50 56.58
KSU 10/17/98 Oklahoma St. 1 52 20 23 8 34.78 287 3 0 14 89 2 6.40 83.50
KSU 10/24/98 Iowa St. 1 52 7 21 14 66.67 216 3 0 11 54 0 4.90 100.97
KSU 10/31/98 Kansas 1 54 6 26 16 61.54 225 1 0 13 95 2 7.30 89.55
KSU 11/07/98 Baylor 1 49 6 29 17 58.62 262 2 0 6 0 1 0.00 88.81
KSU 11/14/98 Nebraska 1 40 30 33 19 57.58 306 2 1 25 140 2 5.60 88.78
KSU 11/21/98 Missouri 1 31 25 26 13 50.00 157 1 1 23 104 1 4.50 68.88
KSU 12/05/98 Texas A&M 0 33 36 28 19 67.86 341 2 1 28 101 1 3.60 109.46
1998 Totals 11 576 160 295 164 55.10 2844 23 4 177 748 14 4.03 88.78
Complete Statistics for Michael Bishop New England Patriots 2000 (NFL)
Team Date Opponent W O D Att Com Pct Yards Td Int Att Yards Td Avg PR
NE 09/11/00 NYJ 0 19 20 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 1 2 0 2.00 0.00
NE 10/01/00 DEN 1 28 19 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.00 0.00
NE 10/08/00 IND 1 24 16 1 1 100.00 44 1 0 0 0 0 0.00 122.08
NE 10/15/00 NYJ 0 17 34 6 2 33.30 36 0 1 0 0 0 0.00 54.17
NE 10/22/00 IND 0 23 30 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 3 3 0 1.00 0.00
NE 11/05/00 BUF 0 13 16 1 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 39.58
NE 12/24/00 MIA 0 24 27 1 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 39.58
2000 Totals 2 148 162 9 3 19.04 80 1 1 6 5 0 0.43 66.81
Complete Statistics for Michael Bishop Toronto Argonauts 2002 (CFL)
Team Date Opponent W O D Att Com Pct Yards Td Int Att Yards Td Avg PR
TA 06/28/02 WPG 0 15 39 7 1 14.30 21 0 0 3 13 0 4.33 39.58
TA 07/03/02 MTL 0 12 28 20 10 50.00 142 1 1 6 57 0 9.50 73.29
TA 07/09/02 BC 1 30 22 29 10 43.50 217 1 1 5 30 1 6.00 61.97
TA 07/13/02 EDM 0 17 31 15 7 46.50 111 1 2 1 15 0 15.00 71.47
TA 07/23/02 WPG 0 15 42 22 11 50.00 169 1 2 1 1 0 1.00 75.53
TA 08/08/02 CAL 0 11 31 7 1 14.30 36 0 0 5 45 0 9.00 48.51
TA 08/23/02 EDM 0 7 30 12 3 25.00 36 0 1 3 16 0 5.33 39.24
TA 09/02/02 HAM 0 14 22 19 9 47.40 107 1 3 7 4 1 0.57 64.54
TA 09/07/02 OTT 1 30 25 15 7 46.70 169 2 0 9 39 0 4.33 88.36
TA 09/15/02 SSK 0 11 40 8 4 50.00 45 0 0 5 5 0 1.00 67.19
2002 Totals 2 162 310 154 63 38.77 1053 7 10 45 225 2 5.61 64.55
Complete Statistics for Michael Bishop Toronto Argonauts 2003 (CFL)
Team Date Opponent W O D Att Com Pct Yards Td Int Att Yards Td Avg PR
TA 06/30/03 HAM 1 49 8 4 3 75.00 38 0 0 1 14 0 14.00 104.17
TA 07/26/03 CAL 1 41 24 3 2 66.70 68 1 0 0 0 0 0.00 110.83
TA 08/17/03 EDM 0 15 18 7 2 28.60 53 0 1 0 0 0 0.00 58.04
TA 10/17/03 MTL 1 45 13 6 1 16.70 56 0 1 2 19 0 9.50 65.28
2003 Totals 3 150 63 20 8 46.75 215 1 2 3 33 0 5.88 79.96
Complete Statistics for Michael Bishop Toronto Argonauts 2004 (CFL)
Team Date Opponent W/L O D Att Com Pct Yards Td Int Att Yards Td Avg PR
TA 07/03/04 MTL 0 9 19 5 0 0.00 0 0 2 1 2 0 2.00 37.92
TA 07/21/04 OTT 1 28 25 2 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 39.58
TA 08/08/04 EDM 1 39 14 1 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 39.58
TA 08/12/04 MTL 0 10 22 10 3 30.00 39 0 2 1 9 0 9.00 42.50
TA 08/17/04 WPG 1 14 6 27 16 59.30 300 1 1 10 96 1 9.60 97.73
TA 08/27/04 BC 0 31 10 29 15 51.70 190 1 1 2 20 0 10.00 72.46
TA 09/06/04 HAM T 30 30 23 11 47.80 133 0 1 20 76 2 3.80 65.85
TA 09/18/04 WPG 0 34 44 25 9 36.00 159 0 3 8 56 2 7.00 58.08
TA 09/25/04 EDM 1 26 17 23 13 56.50 151 1 1 8 36 0 4.50 76.50
TA 09/29/04 CAL 1 49 24 19 10 52.60 157 3 0 2 52 0 26.00 80.90
TA 10/11/04 BC 1 22 16 34 17 50.00 241 0 1 3 9 0 3.00 73.16
TA 10/16/04 CAL 0 11 29 10 5 50.00 54 0 1 3 46 0 15.33 65.83
TA 10/28/04 MTL 0 20 58 9 5 55.60 84 0 2 2 6 0 3.00 86.34
TA 11/21/04 BC 1 27 19 4 3 75.00 38 0 0 2 7 0 3.50 104.17
2004 Totals 7 350 333 221 107 40.32 1508 6 15 60 408 5 6.91 70.67

6 Replies to “Football Update: Michael Bishop”

  1. I have followed Michael’s career since his days at K-State, and I would love to see an NFL team give him another shot. It appears he never has had a fair shot with anyone; maybe the Chiefs could find a way to use his unusual abilities. They certainly should be aware of him.

  2. I was a student at K-State when Bishop was playing college ball and I think that he had and still has the skills to be great in the NFL. He defintiely has better skills than anything I’ve ever seen from NFL QB’s like Kyle Boller, Rex Grossman, Gus Frerotte, David Carr, Brooks Bollinger, Joey Harrington, and Chris Simms, just to name a few. He’s premier and hopefully will get the opportunity to shine where he belongs…in the NFL!

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